Every relationship goes through tough times. As much as we’d like those on the outside to believe our relationships are perfect, that’s not the reality. And sometimes we need to put in serious effort to make love work. These days there are so many ways to work at your relationship. Books, therapists, and even TV shows are all great avenues for reigniting the spark. But one big thing that could save a relationship, and gets a totally bad reputation, is taking a break.

Many see a relationship “break” as the kiss of death. It totally means the other person is just going to sleep around right? Only if you want it to! There are so many facets to taking a break. You can truly go cold turkey and explore other options. Or maybe you can stay together but live apart for a little bit. However you spin it, a break can save an ailing relationship and bring so many benefits. And those benefits aren’t exclusively for couples who stay together. Sometimes you’ll realize in a break that this is not the relationship for you and be given the advantage of the freedom to find your true soulmate. No matter the outcome true, healthy breaks can have immeasurable benefits!

6. Space!

One of the greatest benefits of a break is having time alone. When you’ve been with someone for a long time, it’s likely you either live with them or see them almost 24/7. And while that can be great, sometimes it can get a bit claustrophobic being with someone constantly. Taking time apart allows you to take a bit of a breather. It’s hard to think about the relationship realistically when that person is breathing down your neck the entire time. Space can truly bring perspective and objectivity to the situation.

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But you don’t have to spend every minute apart thinking about that other person. Having some space for yourself to remember who you are outside of your relationship is never a bad thing. It can help you reassess your happiness and figure out if you need a change or not. It’s never too late to fall in love with yourself again!

5. You have time to assess what you really want and need

Sure, you love your significant other, but it’s easy to want to stay together when you’re with them constantly. When you take a bit of a break from each other it’s easier to separate your feelings from the situation and really figure out what you want. Is this relationship actually working or are you fighting for something that’s DOA?

Hang out with friends you haven’t seen in a while, grab a drink or five, and rediscover yourself. Many times when we’re in a relationship, our own selves become less of a priority and a relationship break is a perfect time to reverse course. Being fulfilled on your own is super important, and something that begins to disappear in some long-term relationships. Think about your wants and needs apart from your “other half” and remember you’re a whole person all on your own! Your wants and needs matter more than anyone else.

4. You get to miss each other again

Remember that feeling when you first met your significant other when you just couldn’t stand to be away from them for more than 20 minutes? It’s possible to get that back! Who knew?! Spending time apart can truly make you miss that other person again when you aren’t with them all day every day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all!

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Your significant other is likely your best friend. They’re the person you tell all your work drama to and laugh with at the end of the day. So not having that person there whenever you need them can really make you appreciate what you have. It’s easy to take someone for granted when they’re always there. But with a little distance, you start to realize all they contribute to your life. Especially if you’re living apart from the person who usually does the dishes or kills the spiders in your home!

3. You can open the lines of communication

When you’re in the throes of a low point in your relationship, it’s easy to blow up over every little thing. They didn’t do the dishes? How dare they?! But when you’re taking a break from each other you get to step back from your everyday bickering. Without those little things to get passive-aggressively upset over you’re able to broach the subject of your real issues. It’s easy to yell at someone for not taking the trash out, but it’s hard to say “I just need some help around here.” Without the little squabbles and annoyances in your way, the lines of communication can be opened and things can, hopefully, be resolved easier.

2. Rekindle the spark!

When you’ve been with someone for a long time you begin to get super comfortable with that person. And when you get comfortable with someone you let your guard slip a little. And the next thing you know, you’re farting next to your significant other and peeing while they take a shower. It’s natural! But it definitely dulls the ~mystery~ aspect of a relationship.

Sex lives start to dull after a while, and listen, as much as it sucks, it’s unavoidable. When you’re with the same person for a while and having — or not having — the same, boring sex all the time things can get lame. But taking time apart lets you desire each other again when you aren’t able to have sex whenever you want. That longing for the other person returns and brings back some intimacy.

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1. It can make you realize this is not the relationship for you

This may not seem like a “benefit,” but hear me out. When you take a break from someone you’re having mixed feelings about, you may realize it’s time to move on. Maybe you don’t miss your partner at all, or feel any differently after time apart. And that’s not a bad thing! It’s never bad to realize that you need to step away from something that your heart isn’t in.

As much as we all want to think every relationship will be our last, not everyone we meet – or even everyone we fall in love with – is “the one.” You don’t want to put too much time and energy into something that isn’t fulfilling you. Sometimes the big benefit of a break is the realization that a relationship has run its course and it’s time to move on.

Relationship breaks get a lot of crap for being easy ways for guys and gals to essentially sleep around while keeping their S.O. on the backburner. But that’s not a break — that’s a scummy person you need to get far away from. A true, healthy break can save a relationship from the brink and make you and your partner stronger than ever. And if it doesn’t, at least now you know that it wasn’t meant to be and get to take another chance at happiness. In the end, that’s what it’s all about — being happy.

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